(RepublicanPress.org) – The Summer Olympics are in full swing despite concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The games have provided a great opportunity for athletes from different nations to come together every four years, compete and show support for each other through their shared interests. Such was the case with Iranian defector Saeid Mollaei, a world champion judoka competitor.
On July 27, Mollaei won the Olympic silver medal in the men’s 81-kilogram category, losing the gold to Japan’s Takanori Nagase. It was Mollaei’s first Olympic medal since he left Iran. Iranian officials ordered Mollaei to throw a semi-final match at the 2019 World Championship in Tokyo to avoid a potential match-up with Israeli champion Sagi Muki. Concerned for his safety, Mollaei temporarily moved to Europe before becoming a Mongolian citizen.
Bravo, bravo, bravo! Saeid Mollaei is an Iranian-born Judoka. He was forced to flee #Iran after refusing to forfeit a match against an #Israel athlete in 2019. Saeid just won a Silver medal in #Tokyo2020 #Olympics, where he was competing for Mongolia in Men's 81kg #judo. pic.twitter.com/7plHoojTTg
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) July 27, 2021
Mollaei spoke with Isreal’s Sports Channel after his victory and expressed his gratitude for the support he received from Israel over the last few years. He thanked the Israeli people for sending him “good energy” over the years and said he dedicated his medal to Israel. “I hope the Israelis are happy with this win,” he stated. He concluded his remarks with a cheerful “Todah,” the Hebrew word for “thank you.”
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